Varkala History

History of Varkala

According to Hindu mythology, it is said that a group of pilgrims had approached the saint Narada to confess their sins, after which Narada threw a cloth made out of a tree bark and it happened to land at a place near the sea shore. He instructed the pilgrims to offer their prayers here. This place then came to be known as Papanasam, and as the years went by, the town came to be known as Varkala. It has found mention in many traditional and classical texts and also in Ptolemy’s Periplus.It was known as the Southern Varanasi or Thenkasi owing to the presence of ancient Janardhana Swami temple here. The place was also called Udaya Marthandapuram, commemorating the contributions of Udaya Marathanda Varma, a Travancore King, to the development of Varkala. The king in 1762 built rows of houses in the obscure sea side village of Varkala in order to make the local Brahmins settle here.

During the ancient period, the town flourished and became an important trading port under the Sangha Dynasty and went by the name of Balitha. With the coming of the British, Varkala reached its peak and was an important port for European trade. Before 1947, Varkala was actually a part of the state of Travancore. But when the state of Kerala was formed in 1956, Varkala became a part of Kerala.

An engineering marvel , the 924 ft tunnel that took nearly 14 years to be completed was built in the 19th Century . It was once used to ferry boats between Thiruvananthapuarm and kollam . Popularity known as the Varkala Thuruthu , this tunnel with big opening at the roof that lets in plenty of light and air is a prominent tourist Attraction of Kerala .The Fascinating history surrounding the Anjengo fort built by the Portuguese in 1695 . Originally used as a depot to store Merchandise . It was later converted into fort by the British . The many Tombstones here offer a peek into its Historical Days .

Temple in Varkala

Photo Credit - Stanislav Lvovsky

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